Coolio is an American rapper, actor and songwriter. He released his debut album “It Takes a Thief” in 1995, which was certified platinum by the RIAA. His second album “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1996) also received platinum certification and spawned three top-five singles: “Fantastic Voyage”, “Can’t Touch This”, and “My Mama Said Knock You Out”.

Coolio is a rapper and actor. He was born in the US but grew up in Jamaica, where he became famous for his hit songs Gangsta’s Paradise and I’m Too Sexy.

Coolio was one of the first rappers to strike a mix between mainstream appeal and gritty, street-level subject matter and vocabulary. Despite his hardcore allusions, his music was obviously more upbeat at heart; he shared the West Coast scene’s love of laid-back ’70s funk, and his music reflected that attitude much more than Dr. Dre’s Death Row/G-funk axis. With the exception of his gloomy trademark song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” most of Coolio’s songs were joyful, good-time party anthems, and he developed a silly, ingratiating character in the visuals that accompanied them. His thin, spidery dreadlocks that shot straight out of his head in all directions made him famous with younger audiences, and he became a favorite on Nickelodeon comedy programs. Coolio did so by bringing the sound of West Coast hip-hop to a broader audience than ever before, including those who were turned off by — or too young for — G-harsher funk’s elements. Inactivity, legal issues, and new rap stars stole Coolio’s thunder in the late 1990s, but by that time, he’d helped lay the groundwork for an explosion of hardcore-themed pop-rap (most notably Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy empire), and played an underappreciated role in making hip-hop the mainstream pop music of choice for a new generation.

Coolio was born Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. on August 1, 1963, in the Compton neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. He was a tiny, asthmatic, extremely bright, and voracious reader as a child, which made life outside the house challenging. When his parents separated when he was 11, he began running with the Baby Crips and getting into trouble as an attempt to blend in at school. Even so, he was never officially recruited into the gang, and he attempted to compensate by adopting a threatening, unstable image and bringing weapons to school, and his once-promising academic career ended up falling prey to his violent, impoverished surroundings. He spent many months in prison for theft when he was 17 years old (apparently after trying to cash a money order that had actually been stolen by one of his friends). He attended Compton Community College after high school and started practicing his high school interest in rap. He got his stage name from a dozen competitions in which he was dubbed “Coolio Iglesias.” He became a regular on KDAY, a Los Angeles rap station, and recorded “Watcha Gonna Do,” one of the first SoCal rap songs. Unfortunately, he became addicted to crack cocaine, which put an end to his music career. Coolio went to rehab and got himself straightened up by working as a fireman in northern California’s woods. When he returned to Los Angeles a year later, he performed a variety of odd jobs, including security at LAX, in order to get his rap career back on track.

It Takes a Thief Coolio released another song, “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” which was a flop. He met up with WC and the Maad Circle and guested on their first album, Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed, in 1991, and started establishing contacts in the L.A. hip-hop scene. He subsequently joined the 40 Thevz collective, which landed him a contract with Tommy Boy. Coolio recorded his first album, It Takes a Thief, in 1994, with the help of DJ Brian “Wino” Dobbs. The album’s first single, “County Line,” was a lighthearted look at the indignities of poverty, but “Fantastic Voyage,” a rap remix of Lakeside’s funk hit, was released as a single. “Fantastic Voyage,” which was accompanied by a characteristically fun video, shot to number three on the pop charts, propelling It Takes a Thief into the Top Ten and over the platinum sales threshold. Despite the fact that several of his album tracks addressed tough topics in a similarly filthy way, many reviewers and fans praised his kinder, softer approach to the gangsta-dominated West Coast sound.

Songs in the Key of Life Following his breakout success, Coolio collaborated with gospel-trained vocalist L.V. on a song based on Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” from Songs in the Key of Life. The music on “Gangsta’s Paradise” was dark, haunting, and spellbindingly atmospheric, and it made a social statement on ghetto existence. In other words, it wasn’t what the audience had come to anticipate from Coolio, and a less-than-enthused Tommy Boy advised him against putting it on an album, instead putting it on the soundtrack of the film Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as a stern inner-city teacher. “Gangsta’s Paradise” was a massive success when it was released as a single; it was Coolio’s first number one pop record and the first ghetto-centric rap song to reach number one in the United Kingdom. Even though the Mariah Carey/Boyz II Men duet “One Sweet Day” established a new record for the most weeks at number one that year, “Gangsta’s Paradise” still managed to beat it out as the year’s number one song. It was such a hit that Weird Al Yankovic’s spoof “Amish Paradise” (approved by Tommy Boy but not Coolio, causing much controversy) and the accompanying album Bad Hair Day became his best-selling album of all time. Naturally, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was included on Coolio’s next album, which was released in late 1995, and it was the title tune. Later on, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance.

My Soul The gold, platinum, and platinum-platinum-platinum-platinum The colorful party song “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” reached the Top Ten in 1996, while the safe-sex anthem “Too Hot” was also very successful on the Gangsta’s Paradise album. Meanwhile, Coolio toured the globe, provided the theme song to the Nickelodeon comedy series Kenan and Kel, and started pursuing an acting career, making his film debut in the 1996 comedy Phat Beach and landing a minor part in Batman and Robin the following year. Given his tremendous success the previous time out, Coolio’s third album, My Soul, might have been anticipated to be a big event. By the summer of 1997, however, things had shifted dramatically: the shadow of the 2Pac/Biggie killings loomed large over the hip-hop scene, and Puff Daddy was quickly becoming a breakthrough success among the youthful demographic that had previously been Coolio’s. My Soul’s first single, the elegiac “C U When U Get There” (which sampled Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”), appeared to suit the atmosphere of the moment, but the album barely made it into the Top 40 and became one of the year’s least-noticed platinum successes.

El Cool Magnifico My Soul’s underwhelming success was hampered by a slew of legal issues. Coolio and seven members of his entourage were arrested in late 1997 for allegedly stealing and abusing the owner of a German clothes store; he was subsequently convicted on accessory counts and fined. After missing the comedy in Coolio’s in-concert proposal that fans take his CD if they couldn’t buy it, German police threatened to arrest him with encouraging crime. Coolio was arrested again in the summer of 1998, this time in Lawndale, California. He was pulled over and cited for driving on the wrong side of the road with an expired license, as well as carrying a concealed weapon (despite having informed the officer of the presence of an unloaded semiautomatic pistol in the vehicle) and possessing a small amount of marijuana. But things weren’t all terrible; he started his own label, Crowbar, and was a regular on the resurrected Hollywood Squares. In 1999, he portrayed triplets in the film Tyrone, but due to a car accident, he had to postpone a Crowbar promotional tour. His much-anticipated fourth album remained a rumor (though it was revealed that he had recorded “The Hustler,” a rap version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” with Rogers himself on vocals, back in 1998). El Cool Magnifico was finally signed to the Dragon Riders label five years after his previous record.

Coolio is an American rapper, actor and musician. He was born on September 29th, 1959 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has a total of 12 children and is married to his wife, Loryn. Reference: how many kids does coolio have.

Frequently Asked Questions

What song made Coolio famous?

Fantastic Voyage made Coolio famous.

What music genre is Coolio?

Hip hop.

Why is Coolio famous?

Coolio is famous because he was the first rapper to have a platinum album.

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